Amber Dhara plants tree for opening

Amber Dhara has arrived. After near a year of construction and 4 months behind a construction wall of artistic graffiti, the Indian seafood, small bites restaurant has signs posting that it is open. Well at least that's what the signs say. The good news is that a space that was closed for over a decade (if not decades) is open. The bad news is that this is yet another restaurant - when will restaurant saturation arrive. If it's anything like the point of cafe saturation on Valencia, we still have room for more restaurants. The other good news is a new was planted.
New tree replacing pre-2010 tree. Note new restaurant signage.
Slalom tree effect on Valencia. Street widening tree with special "Muertos" grates (foreground right), new tree in the background (left).
Firstly, on a landscaping/sidewalk note, one of the pre-sidewalk widening trees died soon after construction of Valencia finished in 2010. The tree and it's "well" were located next to the original curb, but after widening the tree well is about 3 to 5 feet from the new curb. Although the tree was cut down, a hard packed dirt tree well remained. We hoped during that time that either the city or the restaurant owner would plant a new tree – plant it in a new tree well in line with all the new trees right next to the new curb. Luckily, a new tree was planted. However, and unfortunately, the tree well location was not moved so the tree slalom along Valencia continues.

Amber Dhara dining space. Note upstairs dining space. Right back at you, Dosa Filmore!

According to Inside Scoop SF, it is the largest on Valencia Street. With 275 seats in 6,000 square feet on two levels, they'll need lots of customers. Luckily the place looks very attractive, and with entrees ranging from $14 to $19, Amber Dhara is the middle of the price spectrum. Much lower than Range and Farina (or Farina Pizza in all likelihood), but higher than the taquerias and Ali Baba's Cave.

More photos and summary after the break.

With all the new restaurants and businesses opening along Valencia Street, especially where sidewalks were widened, let's hope the community pushes for further sidewalk widening down to 24th Street or Cesar Chavez. Sidewalk widening, in our eyes, must be playing a large role in why so many new restaurants have opened in the block between 18th and 19th streets.

The official website has not yet been updated, only noting the restaurant is coming soon! Apparently the restaurant is opening a little bit later than expected due to some inspectors finding some issues.

It's "open" but not yet open for business, or were we just too early since it only serves dinners and weekend brunches?
New Amber Dhara restaurant at 680 Valencia.


  1. Fantastic that something finally has gone in there. As far as I know the previous tenant was the Ralph Nader for President campaign office in late 2000. We got one of their cardboard desks after the election was over.

  2. Fantastic indeed! I was trying to find out what the place was before 2000. Couldn't find anything, although I did see that Ross Mirkarimi was in charge of Nader's campaign office.

    Does anyone have an idea or recollection of what the space was pre-2000? Was it empty for a longer time or was some restaurant or office there before Nader's campaign office?

  3. The sign used to say "Busy Bee Market," but I think its life as that business was before my time at that corner.

  4. Actually it might not be so much before our time. The market may have been there until 1999.

    The Conditional Use Announcement in 2011 by the Planning Department (Case 2011.0126C): "The commercial space on the ground floor has been vacant for approximately 10 years. The previous use was a retail grocery and specialty food

    Similarly, the Historic Preservation Report of 2006 notes that the building constructed in 1924 has "Prominent signage projecting perpendicular to the building at the north end of the façade is composed of four stacked ovaloid plastic boxes, likely electrified, with a clock at the top and the next three reading (from top to bottom): "Time to Shop;" "Liquors Meets;" "Busy Bee Market.""

    The SF Property Information Map notes that in 1995, a permit was granted for "accessor food prep per code 726.40 and 790.102). The name of the business is New Busy Bee Market. A request for bar use was requested in 2003, but denied by the Alcohol and Beverage Commission.

    Finally, from, what appears to be a page from the Yellow Pages Phone book, FROM 1961, there are several Busy Bee Markets in San Francisco, including 680 Valencia Street.


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